This Concept EV Cleans the Air As it Drives, Slashing Emissions

This EV Cleans the Air As it Drives

This electric car is not only zero emissions, but also cleans the air of CO₂ when circulating

The all-electric Zem concept car doesn’t just get from point A to point B without making things worse — it’s making things better!

Sure, EV enthusiasts probably appreciate that their ride of choice has zero tailpipe emissions and doesn’t contribute to local pollution. But what if your EV could actually clean the air of emissions, too? Students at Eindhoven University of Technology’s Ecomotive department in the Netherlands have created a concept car that does just that.

These 30 students created the Zem, an electric car that they hope will dare the automotive industry to take major action when it comes to how they design, plan, and execute on the full life cycle of a car. In the European Union, road transport makes up about one-fifth of the union’s emissions, and passenger cars represent over 60% of total carbon dioxide emissions in Europe. This is why the students targeted the passenger car segment with a concept that they eventually want to make fully CO2 neutral.

The Zem uses a technology called “direct air capturing,” which cleans the air by capturing carbon dioxide into a filter for storage. According to the students, the Zem captured the equivalent of 2 kg of CO2 over 20,000 km traveled in one year — meaning that 10 such cars can store as much CO2 as the average tree.
Currently, the Zem can travel 320 km before the filter is full. The Ecomotive students are hoping that in the future, the full filter could be easily emptied at the same station where the car can charge up. The university is in the process of patenting their filter.

But capturing CO2 is only part of the equation. The Ecomotive team designed most of the parts within the Zem to be reusable or recyclable in order to lower the carbon emissions in the car’s “after-life.”

The team also wants to address the (alleged) problem of EV tire waste. Between 1 billion to 1.8 billion used tires are thrown away every year, and their materials make them difficult to reuse or recycle. So the Zem team has partnered with Black Bear Carbon, which upcycles end-of-life tires to produce sustainable Carbon Black for future tire use.

The Zem also has bi-directional charging technology that would allow the concept to provide energy to a house when there’s no renewable energy being generated at the moment. It accomplishes this through solar panels on the car’s roof, giving the Zem use of both its own batteries and the roof panels. This means the Zem can also act as an external battery to a house when it’s not running, providing the house with green energy.


Eindhoven University ZEM




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